There is more than one way to cook a goose, so to speak. When it comes to selling houses, many people think that their options are limited to a traditional sale via an estate agent. This is a possibility, as we will discuss it momentarily, but it is not the only one. Let’s take a look:
5 Options to Sell House
1. Sole Agent
This is what most of us think of when we think of buying or selling a house: we work with an estate agent, and they help manage the process from start to finish. This can be highly advantageous as experienced agents have exceptional insight into the local market, as well as a large network of contacts (including potential buyers). With a sole agent agreement, you work with one agent who receives the commission upon sale. This is currently an average of 1.18 +VAT, though it will be higher in more expensive areas (e.g. London).
In a twist on the sole agent model, here several agents are trying to sell your house. The one who succeeds is the one who brings home the commission. This can work for you if they are motivated by the competition and by the desire to do right by the client – but it can backfire if they want to score a quick commission and so take the first low offer that comes along. With a sole agent, there is often more of an investment in time and effort, and the fees are lower.
Note: whether you opt for a sole or multi-agent agreement, make sure your contract reads “no sale, no fee.” That is, if they do not sell your house, they do not collect a commission.
3. For Sale By Owner
You can also skip the estate agent, and their fees, altogether. With For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you take on the role of estate agent and work to sell your house. This works best if you have a buyer in mind, such as a child, a friend or a neighbour. It can greatly streamline the process. If not, you run the risk of having your house sit on the market for months if you are not well versed in marketing properties. There is also a great deal of legal work to tackle, so you will still find it beneficial to work with a solicitor or conveyancer.
If you need to sell a house fast, an auction may be one viable solution. Typically, the time between when you register your interest with the auction house and the auction itself is just 30 days, 60 on the outside. The winning bidder will have to pay a deposit (typically 10% of the sales price) on the day of the auction and then has 28 days to complete the same and pay the remainder of the balance. While there is a chance that your house could start a bidding war, it is also quite possible that you will get a low offer that just meets the reserve price. You are taking a chance. You will also have to pay fees to the auction house in exchange for selling your home.
5. Cash Buyer
A cash buyer has the financial capacity to complete a purchase on an accelerated timeline. (But do be sure to see Proof of Finances, including a letter from the buyer’s bank and bank statements. Just because someone claims to have the money doesn’t mean it is accessible and ready to exchange.)
Assuming finances are in order, a cash house buyer will deliver you an initial offer within about 24 hours. If you find it agreeable, they move on to valuations and surveys. With the results of these reports, they issue a final offer. This may be slightly different to the initial offer if they uncovered serious issues with the home (e.g. roof problems, faulty wiring, subsidence, dampness etc.). Usually, though, they offer between 80 – 85% of the total market value. When considering the offer, remember that you do not have to pay expenses typical of the sales process, including estate agent fees, surveyor fees, EPC, solicitors’ fees and the like.
From there, you can accept the offer (or decline, it is entirely up to you) and move towards an exchange of contracts and completion. This can happen in as little as seven days.
Which house sale method works for you and helps you achieve your goals – on your timeline?